INEQUALITY IN THE FILM INDUSTRY

For this article, I wanted to emphasise the negative side to the film industry. If you haven’t already noticed, the film industry has failed to deliver and showcase representation for so many years. There has not been a lot of fairness around in the film industry lately, which resulted in many people talking about things like “white-washing”.

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism conducted a thorough research on the inequality evident in the film industry and I thought the results were rather interesting. The research was done to examine portrayals of gender, race and LGBT status in 700 popular films from 2007 to 2014.

Apparently, an average of 30.2% of all speaking characters in the 700 films, were female. And the ratio of males to females taken from the total number of speaking characters is 2.3:1. This gives us a clearer picture of how females are noticeably absent in film. In addition, they seem to be invisible off-screen as well. Across 1,326 content creators; 1.9% were female directors, 11.2% were female writers and 18.9% were female producers.  To add on, of the top 100 films in 2014, 21 films featured a female lead or co-lead, and only 3 of those female actors were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. As you can see, there is a lot of gender bias in the film industry.

Moving on to the underrepresentation of people of color, 73.1% of actors in the top 100 films of 2014 were white! If this doesn’t scream “white privilege” to you, I don’t know what will. Secondly, only 17 out of those 100 films had a lead or co-lead played by an underrepresented race / ethnicity. Of the 100 top films, 12.5% of the actors were Black, 5.3% were Asian and 4.9% Hispanic. Such racial inequality caused uproars of hashtags like “#OscarsSoWhite” and “#RepresentAsian” on social media, thanks to the nomination of the actors this year who were all white! Wow, now that’s what I call diversity, am I right?!

To finish off, let’s talk about the lack of representation of the LGBT community in the film industry. Of 4,610 speaking characters, only 10 were gay, 5 bisexual, 4 lesbian and 0 transgender. This shows how the film industry is plain heteronormative and hides the LGBT community away. Additionally, of the top 100 films of 2014, 86 films had no LGBT characters. Unsurprisingly, 84.2% of the LGB characters were… WHITE! Shocker!

To conclude, we can say that white privilege basically dominates the film industry, along with gender bias and LGBT concealment. The big question is why does the film industry have such a big problem with representation?  It is no surprise that this has not changed for many years but we can only hope that the film industry gives us real representation soon. Crossed fingers.

Written by Mary Francesca B. Lantican

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